Prime-time entertainment television viewers may be force-fed pro-Obamacare propaganda if a high-profile public relations agency has its way.
The New York Times reports that the California Health Benefit Exchange, the agency tasked with implementing Obamacare in that state, is paying $900,000 for openers to a “global marketing powerhouse” to hype the federal government’s controversial and still unpopular healthcare law.
The Times explains how Modern Family and other shows come into play in this campaign by Ogilvy Public Relations:
And Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda, will be tapped. Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan. The exchange will also seek to have prime-time television shows, like “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.
“I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,’ ” said Peter V. Lee, the exchange’s executive director. “There are good story lines here.”
In general, irrespective of their ideological leanings (if any), people watch television — particularly situation comedies and dramas — for entertainment and as an escape, and not for politicized content. Moreover, if Obamacare is such an upgrade over the current system, shouldn’t it stand on its own merits without any expensive hype? If no employer is going to be priced out of employee coverage, and there will no rationed care, waiting lists, or skyrocketing premiums, why would a public relations blitz — including messages slipped into TV shows — by Obamacare’s proponents be even necessary? With that said, why have so many politically connected organizations who favored Obamacare nonetheless obtained a waiver from Obamacare’s provisions?
Do you think popular television programs like Modern Family and others should have a political message in the first place? Separately, would you (or anyone) watch a reality show about health insurance?